Friday, March 7, 2014

Prince William, Kate Middleton's Vacation in Maldives Costs $10,000 for Four Nights

Five-star couple's retreat! Prince William and Kate Middleton are currently enjoying their weeklong vacation in the Maldives, which started Thursday, Mar. 6, and it's quite the luxurious getaway!

A source tells Us Weekly the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are staying at the brand-new, five-star Cheval Blanc Randheli Resort, which opened just last November, on the southern Noonu Atoll. The resort is part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy luxury conglomerate, and every one of its 45 villas includes gorgeous views of the Indian Ocean and access to private white sandy beaches.
Will and Kate are kicking back in a large two-bedroom island villa, which includes a 41-foot infinity pool and sun deck. According to one insider, a four-night stay at the Cheval Blanc costs $10,000, and a five-course dinner at the resort's luxury Le 1947 restaurant costs about $500 per person -- without drinks. (Kensington Palace refused to comment on the couple's private time.)

Kate Middleton and Prince William on Sept. 16, 2012 in Honiara

While his parents are enjoying their romantic vacation, baby Prince George is staying with his matronal grandparents, Michael and Carole Middleton. The 7-month-old tot will join the Duke and Duchess when the royals embark on a public three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand on April 7. In total, they are expected to visit seven major cities in New Zealand and six cities in Australia.

"For the couple, this visit represents a wonderful opportunity on the one hand for The Duke to deepen his personal relationship with, and admiration for, New Zealand and Australia," Miguel Head, private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge, said in a press conference on Mar. 2. "And on the other, for the Duchess to experience some of the extraordinary warmth and hospitality for which the people of both countries are renowned the world over."
Baby Prince George has already has experienced one overseas vacation with his mom. In January, the baby heir to the British throne visited the West Indies island of Mustique for his grandmother Carole's 59th birthday.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Longline training for young fishermen

A training programme has been launched in the Maldives to teach longline fishing to young fishermen.
The initiative has been launched by the Maldivian Fisheries Ministry, in collaboration with the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO), reports local media.

Fisheries Minister Dr Mohamed Shainee said that, with the new programme, Maldivian fishermen would go further out to sea, reducing the share of longline fishing for foreigners, increasing the Maldives’ productivity and creating more jobs for young people.

Fishermen in the Maldives primarily fish by using the pole and line method, and Dr Shainee says that by introducing longlining it would lessen dependency on one fishing method. And Maldivian fishermen would also be able to catch lucrative bigeye tuna.

MIFCO Deputy Manager Ahmed Didi told reporters that the company’s target was to ensure that the youth who complete the training programme would have the capability to work in large yellowfin tuna fishing vessels “anywhere in the world”.

Dr Shainee also said that longlining is the most environmentally-friendly fishing method after pole and line, but additional measures will be taken to reduce the impact on the environment, including hooks that prevent the bycatch of sharks and turtles.

Ten fishermen from Haa Alif Hoarafushi were chosen for the first stage of the training programme, to be conducted by MIFCO.

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Prince William, Kate Middleton Vacation in the Maldives Before Australian Tour

Happy holiday! In a month, Prince William and Kate Middleton will embark on a very public tour of Australia and New Zealand with their baby boy, Prince George -- but at the moment, they're enjoying a much more low-profile trip. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have escaped to the Maldives for a little vacation, a source tells Us Weekly.

Kate Middleton and Prince William on July 26, 2012 in London

The royal couple will spend a week in the islands, which are located in the Indian Ocean and have become something of a A-list destination spot. Katy Perry and Russell Brand honeymooned in the Maldives after their wedding in 2010, as did Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in 2006. (Middleton and her husband, meanwhile, honeymooned in the Seychelles after their 2011 nuptials.)


Kate Middleton, Prince William visit the Maldives on romantic getaway

LONDON, March 6 (UPI) -- Ahead next month's whirlwind tour of Australia and New Zealand, Prince William and his wife, Kate, have reportedly touched down in the Maldives for a week-long vacation.
Though their trip has not been confirmed by the palace, People cites local news reports as confirmation that the royal couple landed in the Indian Ocean republic on Thursday.

No one is sure whether Prince George, now 7 months old, made the trip, though he will definitely accompany his parents to Wellington, New Zealand, on April 7. They'll then tour six more cities in New Zealand and six in Australia.


Love blossoms in the Maldives

I gingerly take the hand of the cabin crew member helping me down the steps of the twin-engine sea plane to a small pontoon surrounded by calm turquoise water. The glistening white sands and lush vegetation of a small island are finally within my reach.

After a 20-minute scenic flight, my husband and I have arrived at our romantic hideaway.

About 93km from Male, Maafushivaru ("maaf" means flower and "fushi" island) is on the southern tip of an ancient underwater volcano called the North Ari Atoll. It's a giant lagoon that's fringed by reefs and dotted with other remote resorts with similar palm leaf roofs, water villas and ancient Indian banyan trees planted among the coconut palms for shade.

A dhoni wooden boat gently glides into view and an outstretched hand welcomes me on board for the briefest of crossings to a wooden walkway. Perched above the reef, it's the gateway to our romantic island escape.

I'd chosen a water villa over a beach bungalow as I loved the idea of staying in a bedroom on stilts and stepping down to swim straight into the sea, with the added privacy of a sunbathing terrace not overlooked by other guests passing by.

However, the debate during our welcome cocktail is whether to opt for a "sunrise" or "sunset" villa. With the throw of a dice, we choose the latter and awake to uninterrupted views across the Indian Ocean.

Settling into this unique "one-island, one-resort" concept (there's no island-hopping in the Maldives) we feel like we've joined an elite club where everyone's friendly, the staff greet you with genuine smiles and where you can simply relax or enjoy some of the best diving and snorkelling sites in the south of the Ari Atoll.

Maafushivaru is an all-inclusive resort with a la carte dining options, 48 villas and a "No shoes. No news" tag-line. Activities can include a Sunset Cruise to see dolphins, or snorkelling excursions where you can come face to face with turtles, whale sharks and manta rays.

What marks Maafushivaru out from other resorts is its smaller neighbouring uninhabited island of Lonubo.

Guests can take advantage of a complimentary trip to the idyllic getaway, where they can spend a couple of hours swimming and sunbathing with a picnic (at extra cost). But my husband and I decide to splash out the extra $US1000 ($A1116.32) for a Robinson Crusoe-chic overnight stay.

Our adventure begins late afternoon when the dhoni boat drops us off on Lonubo and we stroll barefoot in the sand to our wooden bungalow. We arrive to find an exterior bathroom with a rain-shower, big screen TV, pink frangipani scattered on crisp white bed linen and a bottle of sparkling wine on ice.

It doesn't take long for us to head to the dead calm sea, which is 30 degrees. Waist deep with glasses in hand, we steal a kiss (even though no one is looking) and burrow our toes into the sand.

As darkness falls we lounge on the beach bed, play on the oversized sofa-swing and watch clusters of crabs building their evening home in the sand.

The dhoni boat returns and a couple of members of staff busy themselves with setting up the barbecue for a menu of grilled fish and lobster, which is served by candlelight.

Six metres from our table, another light show captures our attention. Bioluminescent plankton are performing in the sea under a blanket of darkness.

Later, alone on the island, we enjoy a peaceful night's sleep and awake to the sound of blackbirds frolicking in the palm trees.

Back at Maafushivaru, we continue the romance with a relaxing 60-minute couples massage in the newly refurbished spa. Set over the water, it offers a menu of body rituals from Indonesia, Thailand and India, and Yon-Ka face and body treatments from France.

The plunge pool overlooks the sea with gentle waves lapping beneath the day beds which are shielded from the sun by billowing sails.

That evening, after dinner, we sink into giant beanbags and watch clips from David Attenborough's marine life series, projected onto a large screen. What we'd seen snorkelling by day was being played out at night.

Seduced by the flora and fauna of the Maldives, we toast our good fortune at having been cast away at Maafushivaru. On the way back to our room, I notice a beautiful big white flower with petals splayed wide open.

During the day, I'm told, it rests, unfurling only as darkness falls.

I later discover its name is Queen of the Night, which aptly describes how I felt during my stay on Maafushivaru.


Australians usually travel to the Maldives via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, flying either Singapore Airlines or Malaysia Airlines to Male. A 25-minute sea plane flight takes guests from Male to the Maafushivaru resort.

For details of villas, packages and facilities, go to


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

46 global companies interested in resort ventures in the Maldives

Forty-six companies have submitted applications to begin developing resorts in the Maldives in partnership with the Maldives government, the Tourism Ministry said on Wednesday.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest for resort development with the Maldivian government ran out on Monday.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb had told local media the government was upbeat regarding the high number of global companies that had expressed interest in beginning resorts in the Maldives. The proposals will begin evaluation presently.

"Forty-six parties have submitted expressions of interest to develop resorts. We will decide how the government will venture on with these private parties after having evaluated their proposals, " he said.

The minister said that if the government does make a resort in a joint venture with a private party, then they would consider doing it with the most financially capable party. Also, he said that the government will evaluate the party's experience in tourism.

"The most important factor considered will be financial capability, because the purpose of this venture is to develop many resorts," he said.

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has vowed to open 10 resorts in a year, pledging 50 new resorts in his five-year term.

Sixty islands have been granted for resort development at various time periods to different parties, which still remain incomplete. Two or three resorts are opened on average in a year.

Maldives tourism topped 1 million arrivals in 2013 with China continuing to lead the way. However it was not reported whether any of the 46 proposals are from Chinese companies.


New Family Water Villas open at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

MALDIVES - Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is opening new two-bedroom Family Water Villas this month. “Our philosophy is to offer our guests the ultimate in resort accommodation on two islands and we’re constantly updating to ensure we remain an innovator in luxury hospitality,” said Peter Nilsson, general manager, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

“We’ve noted an increase in demand for two-bedroom over-water villas and have introduced these family water villas as a response to this need.  Parents have the peace of mind that comes with having their children staying in the same villa, while the children will enjoy the privacy of their own separate bedroom.”

Built in traditional Maldivian thatched-roof style, the 150-square metre villas are clustered around the Spa Retreat, one of two spas at the resort.  Their spacious design blends contemporary Maldivian style in a natural harmony of wooden interiors and a breezy indoor-outdoor feel where the Indian Ocean is always in view. Luxury touches include a split-level sundeck with Jacuzzi, sun beds and dining area, as well as an indoor dining-and-lounge area next to the master bedroom and plenty of daybeds dotted around the villa.  The bathroom’s clever design ensures that the windows can be fully opened to create an ‘outdoor bathing experience’.  Steps from the private sundeck make it easy to snorkel to the nearby coral reef.

The two bedroom Family Water Villas are priced from $2,000 per night based on two adults and two children sharing.
Younger travellers are welcomed at Conrad Maldives, with an active Kids’ club and a host of activities and excursions to do every day.


Maldives govt tells 19 companies to submit detailed proposal for mega bridge project

The Maldives government is seeking detailed reports from 19 companies, including two from China, to be submitted by June before allocating the project of constructing a bridge between the airport and capital Male, reports said Wednesday.

The deadline for the detailed reports has been given as June 9, 2014, reported local media.

Earlier, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed said 19 companies had expressed interest for the contractor-finance project to build a bridge linking capital Male and the airport island of Hulhule.

Speaking during a press conference, the Economic Minister said the 19 "international standard" companies include two companies from China, two companies from India, in addition to companies from the US, UK, Turkey, Australia, France and some local companies.

The minister did not provide details.

Asked when the project will be awarded, the economic minister said it will take "about six months or so"to evaluate the proposals, award the project and begin construction. He said the government hopes to start construction latest by the end of this year.

Saeed said although design for the bridge is yet to be finalized, the government will ensure that it will be durable and built with modern architecture and technology. Details of the project will be provided at a later date.

Government is seeking a party to design, construct, manage and maintain the bridge.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

British tourist drowns while snorkelling in the Maldives

A British tourist has drowned while snorkelling in the Maldives.

The accident occurred near the Biyadhoo Resort, according to Shanghai Daily.

Police said the 65-year-old man had been reported missing on Monday evening, and was found around an hour later.


CNTV reports that his death was confirmed by the Kaafu Maafushi Health Centre.

The Biyadhoo Island Resort & Spa has has a four-star rating on Tripadvisor and is described on its website as a "simple" resort that is a "haven for divers" boasting one of the Maldives' finest house reefs.